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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some help trying to figure out why the honey I extracted crystalized a month after it was bottled.
This is my fourth year of bee keeping and my third year of extracting honey but this is my first year in our new home in Nampa Idaho, the first few years we lived in Grants Pass Oregon. The honey from Oregon stored well and stayed clear and crystal free for 6 month to a year and some of the best honey I have ever had. It was light and very flavorful.
This is our first harvest here in Idaho and the hives did very well with plenty of food, water and warm weather which produced a very large honey production for five hives. The problem with this years fall harvest here in Idaho was it crystalized in about a month after we bottled it. Our extraction process and filtering method hasnt changed since our first Oregon harvest.
The honey was a little darker than i'm used to but it still had a full flavored taste. The crystalization in the honey is small and dense resembling that of a whipped honey. It could be used like whipped honey except we bottled it in plastic squeeze bottles.
Heres the weirdest part of this for me, I extracted a half gallon of honey a week prior to my main 300lb extraction and that honey didnt crystalized at all. Can anyone out there help me with some answers to my bizzare 300lb nonsqueezable honey harvest?
Thanks Glen
 

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Glen, this issue comes up frequently and you can search for detailed responses here on the forum. Short answer is that you have a different nectar source than you are accustomed to and this one crystalizes. The earlier extraction was most likely a single floral source that does readily crystalize, but the 300# extraction had all the different sources mixed together. You could heat the honey to 130 degrees and then cool and bottle it like the big producers do. Heating like that is supposed to keep it from recrystallizing again, it just wont be able to be sold as raw honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Glen, this issue comes up frequently and you can search for detailed responses here on the forum. Short answer is that you have a different nectar source than you are accustomed to and this one crystalizes. The earlier extraction was most likely a single floral source that does readily crystalize, but the 300# extraction had all the different sources mixed together. You could heat the honey to 130 degrees and then cool and bottle it like the big producers do. Heating like that is supposed to keep it from recrystallizing again, it just wont be able to be sold as raw honey.
I had read that the flower or nectar was to blame, but the small extraction I did a week before is what threw me off. I guess moving the hives maybe the answer for next years harvest. Thanks
 

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One of the joys of beekeeping is experiencing the different honeys we get from each extraction.Seasonal timing,location,elevation and weather all have effects on the combination of nectar sources that make up each individual batch.This affects rate of crystallization along with color,flavor,moisture content etc.
Myself,I deal with this by only bottling for my immediate needs and keep the bulk of the harvest in pails.Once honey in a container crystalizes,it is difficult to liquify 100% without resorting to high temps.
I have a warming cabinet and liquify pails as needed and then strain through a filter bag in my bottling bucket to catch the remaining crystals.The resulting honey "sugar" can still be used in hot drinks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One of the joys of beekeeping is experiencing the different honeys we get from each extraction.Seasonal timing,location,elevation and weather all have effects on the combination of nectar sources that make up each individual batch.This affects rate of crystallization along with color,flavor,moisture content etc.
Myself,I deal with this by only bottling for my immediate needs and keep the bulk of the harvest in pails.Once honey in a container crystalizes,it is difficult to liquify 100% without resorting to high temps.
I have a warming cabinet and liquify pails as needed and then strain through a filter bag in my bottling bucket to catch the remaining crystals.The resulting honey "sugar" can still be used in hot drinks.
Thank you for your ideas. The problem I have is the 300lbs of honey went into SQUEEZE bottles which are solid as a rock with no squeezing happening unless you heat them all up. This makes the retail value drop a lot. The average person looks at crystallized honey as old or bad. I started heating the squeeze bottles to 105 degrees in my sous vide and then squeezing it into wide mouth mason jars so you can spoon it out and use it like creamed honey because the crystals are so small its what it resembles.
I wasted the money on the pretty lables I put on the squeeze bottles and not to mention the bottles them selves.
I guess I never planned on getting rich with bee keeping;)
 

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Nectar sources with more glucose than fructose tend to crystallize faster. Canola / rapeseed nectar is high in glucose. So is Goldenrod. And the list goes on. Other than processing the honey with heat, I don't think the extraction method make huge difference to the chemistry that's at play.

Where I keep bees, honey that made from springtime nectar sources tends to have a higher percentage of fructose. The honey is usually lighter and stays liquid for a longer time.

Crystalized honey in squeeze bottles. Ouch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nectar sources with more glucose than fructose tend to crystallize faster. Canola / rapeseed nectar is high in glucose. So is Goldenrod. And the list goes on. Other than processing the honey with heat, I don't think the extraction method make huge difference to the chemistry that's at play.

Where I keep bees, honey that made from springtime nectar sources tends to have a higher percentage of fructose. The honey is usually lighter and stays liquid for a longer time.

Crystalized honey in squeeze bottles. Ouch.
Ouch is right, this years honey was pretty disappointing to say the least.
I've decided to heat up the honey today and make mead with it and drink my problems away;)
I think they call it making lemonade out of those lemons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When you have a couple days of sun. Place a couple bottles on you dashboard in direct sun. Generally reliquifies in two days.
When you have a couple days of sun. Place a couple bottles on you dashboard in direct sun. Generally reliquifies in two days.
I've found that a sous vide cooker works well for heating the honey because you can set it at 108 degrees and it will never change from that.
 

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For larger quantities, my incubator made from a small refrigerator would be perfect. It has a heater with a fan and a very accurate temperature controller. Set a few boxes of the bears in it at around 100° and wait a few days. The PET bottles the squeeze bears are made of will do funny things if they get too hot.

Making mead is a good solution to just about any honey problems.
 

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Thank you for your ideas. The problem I have is the 300lbs of honey went into SQUEEZE bottles which are solid as a rock with no squeezing happening unless you heat them all up. This makes the retail value drop a lot. The average person looks at crystallized honey as old or bad. I started heating the squeeze bottles to 105 degrees in my sous vide and then squeezing it into wide mouth mason jars so you can spoon it out and use it like creamed honey because the crystals are so small its what it resembles.
I wasted the money on the pretty lables I put on the squeeze bottles and not to mention the bottles them selves.
I guess I never planned on getting rich with bee keeping;)
have you tries a "warm" place?
Sauna, oven, hot room where you can heat to 110 degrees or so.

it will melt very good in water may need more labels.

next year leave it in pails heat the pail bottle sell, then next month repeate.
Or do not label and melt them in a hot water bath.

GG
 

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The labels I used seem to be holding up well in the water bath so that's a good thing. I think that someone out there should invent a honey warmer that a squeeze bear will fit into and keep the honey at a warm temp to either de-crystalize or keep from crystalizing honey.
 

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For larger quantities, my incubator made from a small refrigerator would be perfect. It has a heater with a fan and a very accurate temperature controller. Set a few boxes of the bears in it at around 100° and wait a few days. The PET bottles the squeeze bears are made of will do funny things if they get too hot.

Making mead is a good solution to just about any honey problems.
I made a regular mead wine and a craisin mead wine today, we'll see how they turn out, Cheers!
 

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The labels I used seem to be holding up well in the water bath so that's a good thing. I think that someone out there should invent a honey warmer that a squeeze bear will fit into and keep the honey at a warm temp to either de-crystalize or keep from crystalizing honey.
there is one
A sauna, holds about 200 honey bears

GG
 

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I sometimes get Russian olive honey and it will crystallize in a week or two. Re liquify it and it's back in a week or two. I have a mead guy that said it made his best honey. He gets it. Crystallization is all about the nectar source. Early and late honeys seem to crystallize faster around here, while sweet clover takes several months. Harvested goldenrod for the first time this fall and it was starting to go in a couple weeks. Good stuff though. I read that between 70 and 50 degrees it crystallizes the fastest. I have put it in the freezer before to hold off crystallizing, but when it comes out it seems to crystallize quicker.

You probably already figured this out, but I don't bottle any more honey than I think I will sell in the next few weeks or month. Making it liquid again isn't my funnest part of beekeeping.
 

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I need some help trying to figure out why the honey I extracted crystalized a month after it was bottled.
This is my fourth year of bee keeping and my third year of extracting honey but this is my first year in our new home in Nampa Idaho, the first few years we lived in Grants Pass Oregon. The honey from Oregon stored well and stayed clear and crystal free for 6 month to a year and some of the best honey I have ever had. It was light and very flavorful.
This is our first harvest here in Idaho and the hives did very well with plenty of food, water and warm weather which produced a very large honey production for five hives. The problem with this years fall harvest here in Idaho was it crystalized in about a month after we bottled it. Our extraction process and filtering method hasnt changed since our first Oregon harvest.
The honey was a little darker than i'm used to but it still had a full flavored taste. The crystalization in the honey is small and dense resembling that of a whipped honey. It could be used like whipped honey except we bottled it in plastic squeeze bottles.
Heres the weirdest part of this for me, I extracted a half gallon of honey a week prior to my main 300lb extraction and that honey didnt crystalized at all. Can anyone out there help me with some answers to my bizzare 300lb nonsqueezable honey harvest?
Thanks Glen
 

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Any goldenrod or aster in your area? That is the issue I deal with. It only takes a little bit of that nectar to seed all of your honey IMHO...based on years of experience in many different yard locations...
 

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I have the same problem. So I set the bottles of cry. honey in my dehydrator and set on 113 degrees F. About 6 hours later they are pure liquid honey and the labels look great.
The food dehydrator only cost $75.00 and I dehydrate all kinds of fruit and vegetables in it.
 

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I have used a big cooler with a refrigerator light bulb. Light bulb at one end honey at the other, it liquefies real nicely.
 

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The labels I used seem to be holding up well in the water bath so that's a good thing. I think that someone out there should invent a honey warmer that a squeeze bear will fit into and keep the honey at a warm temp to either de-crystalize or keep from crystalizing honey.
As pointed out above, there are many factors contributing crystallization of honey.

Also, the optimal temp for creaming honey is 57 degrees. Storing your honey as far from 57 in either direction should delay the process. I have some Fall honey we keep on the kitchen shelf that is 4 or 5 years old that is still liquid. I also have stored some under the bed that started to crystallize by the following Spring.
The size and amount of pollen grains suspended in honey also increases the rate of crystallization. Crystals need somewhere to start. That is a perceived problem with raw honey, people want raw honey, but they don't want it to crystallize either. The typical consumer has been conditioned to think it means that the honey isn't "fresh" or that it is somehow inferior. Change comes slowly.

Alex
 
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